When we were growing up, we had an elderly neighbor who would ALWAYS hand out these handmade Old Fashioned Popcorn Balls on Halloween. She always gave us those, and delicious homemade chocolate donuts that were amazing. These popcorn balls are so good, and bring back so many awesome memories!
There are few things that just say “fall” to me when it comes to food. My foolproof Pumpkin Roll recipe is one of them (because you can’t have fall without pumpkin spice, amiright?!) and concord grapes – which I made into super easy and delicious grape jam (that I canned myself!) this year! I’m not a huge fan of regular popcorn (I know, I know) but I do love a good kettle corn, and these Old Fashioned Popcorn Balls are like an ooey-gooey delicious version of kettle corn. I found this recipe in a 1950’s newspaper, and it’s SO good!
Just a fair warning that you will need to get your hands dirty for this recipe. After your pour in the sticky sugar mixture, butter the living snot out of your hands. I literally greased my hands before making every single popcorn ball, and it worked best when I did it. Also, don’t be afraid to squeeze the popcorn balls firmly when making them. The popcorn won’t just stick together lightly, it needs to be smashed a bit.
- 3 bags of microwaveable popcorn (I used Orville Redenbacher's "Simply White")
- 1 cup light corn syrup (the clear kind)
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup water
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
- Cook the popcorn as directed on the package, then pour it into two large bowls (I had to split mine between the two bowls) and set aside for later.
- Line two cookie sheets with wax paper, and set aside for later.
- In a sauce pan, add the corn syrup, sugar, water, and vinegar and bring to a rolling boil.
- Let it stay at a rolling boil, stirring constantly, for two minutes.
- Remove it from the heat and immediately stir in the butter.
- Pour half the mixture over one bowl of popcorn, and the other half over the other bowl.
- Butter your hands well, and mix the popcorn to distribute the sugar mixture all over the popcorn.
- Press the popcorn into 2½" - 3" balls and set them onto thewax paper to dry.
- After they've cooled and hardened a bit, wrap them in saran wrap or plastic packaging to keep the popcorn from getting stale and chewy.